The New Jersey Devils refused to be bullied on Broad Street. They were patient, aggressive and disciplined. As a result, they're moving on in the playoffs.
David Clarkson scored the go-ahead goal on a mistake by goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, Martin Brodeur made 27 saves and the Devils eliminated the Philadelphia Flyers with a 3-1 victory in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Tuesday night.
Bryce Salvador and Ilya Kovalchuk also scored for New Jersey, which heads to the conference finals for the first time since winning its third Stanley Cup title in 2003.
"A lot of guys took a beating and turned the other cheek," said Brodeur, the four-time Vezina Trophy winner who turned 40 before Game 4. "We didn't want to get into a special-team match. No retaliation penalties in the whole series, and that was key."
The Devils will face the winner of the New York Rangers-Washington Capitals series. The Rangers hold a 3-2 series lead.
"Our team game is what is making us successful and not any individuals," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "The guys are believing in what we're doing, and we have a lot of work left to do. It gets tougher from here."
After losing the series opener 4-3 in overtime, the sixth-seeded Devils dominated the Flyers. They continually frustrated Philadelphia with a stifling defense and held one of the NHL's top offenses to just 11 goals.
The Flyers excelled on the power play in Round 1 against Pittsburgh. They had no such luck against the Devils, and were 0 for 1 on their only man-advantage in the final game.
"We knew what we had to do. We had to stay out of the box," Clarkson said. "That team is dangerous on the power play. We had some guys get hit hard and we turned our back and went the other way."
It has been 37 years since the Flyers hoisted the Stanley Cup, a drought team chairman Ed Snider desperately hoped to end. But they have to wait until next spring to try again.
Max Talbot scored the only goal for Philadelphia, which played without Claude Giroux. The All-Star center was suspended one game for a hit on Dainius Zubrus in New Jersey's 4-2 win Sunday.
Giroux appeared on the ice -- after the game. Wearing a gray suit, he walked in the handshake line and then waved to the crowd.
"Claude is an important part of our makeup, so to take him out, you take out a big piece," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said.
For the fourth straight game, the Flyers scored first. But that was a bad omen because they lost every time. Talbot poked one past Brodeur during a scramble in front of the net 7:18 into the game.
The Devils answered just 2:09 later when Salvador flipped a shot from the left wing that deflected off the stick of Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds and over Bryzgalov's shoulder.
A few minutes later, Bryzgalov's mental lapse gave the Devils a lead. Bryzgalov took a dump pass from Kimmo Timonen, skated to the left of the crease and inexplicably tried to clear it out with Clarkson bearing in on him. The puck hit Clarkson's stick and bounced right back at Bryzgalov and through his legs.
"I honestly had no idea it went in until I heard the crowd yelling," Clarkson said. "Just to be on the forecheck when that went in is an unbelievable feeling."
The goal deflated the Flyers and seemed to suck the life out of the sellout crowd at Wells Fargo Center.
"That goal stung. It hurt," Laviolette said. "It was a tough goal."
A sloppy play by Brodeur nearly allowed the Flyers to tie it in the second period. Brodeur mishandled the puck behind the net, but Danny Briere's wraparound attempt hit the post.